Rick and I got married September 5, 1980.
We were already working in the small country church with the youth. (I had been teaching kids since I was 10 years old, because there was no one to teach the 4-5 year olds on Sunday nights.) So, we had our honeymoon (which consisted of one night, and a morning of laughter and memories). Returning to the house that we had spent the last month of our engagement on, getting it ready to move in to, we stepped back into the role of "official" youth leaders.
So, before we had our own kids, we had kids flowing in and out of the house - at all hours of the days and nights. We lived about a mile from the church, and most of the youth were living in the community as well. They would either ride their bikes to the house, walk if the weather permitted, call one of us to come pick them up, or get off the school bus at our house.
Laughter filled the space of our home.
Along with the laughter, there were serious conversations, teaching moments, stern talks, and a few tears. But always, always, always, there was respect, honor, and gratitude, shown by them to us. We respected them for the people they were - not just "kids", but real people, with real thoughts and real feelings. Not just "kids" to be told what to do, how and when to do it.
Rick stood firm and strong in demanding respect at all times, in all situations. No matter how frustrated or upset they might be, no matter the words they said - there was always respect in their voices when they talked to either of us, or to one another.
Those kids knew they could talk to either of us about anything, and about everything, and they did. What they didn't feel comfortable discussing with their parents, they were open and honest in our home with us. We made sure they understood there would be times that we would talk to their parents on their behalf, or that we would go with them so they would feel the strength to talk with their parents.
Then I became pregnant with our daughter. When she was born and brought home from the hospital, her "brothers and sisters" surrounded her with love, with care, with attention. Then 16 months later, they did the same for our son.
The years passed, we moved a few times. Those kids grew up to have lives of their own. Life changed for all of us.
It didn't matter where we lived, our home was a magnet for kids.
We sat down one night for supper - Rick, me, Mandy & Joshua. Joshua was about 4 years old. I looked at Rick, he looked at me, and the quietness of the home made us take a deep sigh. lol
Suddenly Joshua pushed his plate back and said, "I'll wait."
"Wait for what, baby?" I asked.
"Wait for my brothers and sisters to get here."
I got up, walked around to his chair, knelt down, and explained to him that his sister was at the table, and that he didn't have any other brothers and sisters.
He puckered up and cried his heart out. I held him as he cried.
When he calmed down, he wanted to know if they had all gone to Heaven.
I looked over at Rick. The look of shock that was on his face, must have been on mine, too!
In that moment, we realized that our 4 year old son was crying because he thought all those kids that had been in and out of the home for his whole life had all died suddenly!
Rick came over, knelt beside me, Mandy (5 years old) wrapped her arms around my neck ... and we had a family time there while supper got cold on the table.
Daddy explained to the kids that these others were not their blood brothers and sisters (not without a lot of arguing from a 5 year old girl and a 4 year old brother, I might add). But that they were our family, their brothers and sisters of the heart - no matter the color of the skin. "They have different color skin, daddy? I haven't seen that!"
Oh my precious babies' hearts of innocence and love!!!
Daddy went on to explain how that the "brothers and sisters" had their own families to eat supper with, at least sometimes. And that they would still be free to come and go at will, as long as they followed the rules of the home.
Finally, after a long conversation, filled with a few more tears, much laughter, many hugs ... we finished a cold, yet most delicious, supper. Daddy and Momma were filled with pride and joy that our kids just "got" the whole unity and love and joy of living, working, and playing together.
I will say this - - our kids kept that, still retain that today.
Joshua and Michael will fight anyone who says they are NOT brothers. Oh my heart!
I have shared all of this to say this:
In those 35 years of being Rick's wife, and Momma to so many, I was treated with love, with respect, with honor, and always, always, thanked for everything, from a glass of water to a full meal, or simply a listening ear and heart - usually with a kiss on the cheek, or on the forehead (as the kids grew taller than Momma, lol).
I worked hard to keep our home clean and in order.
I served kids and adults alike.
Rarely did I do any of it alone.
Almost always at least one of the kids would be there to help me clean, helping and learning as I cooked, carrying anything that needed it, working along side me as we talked and shared.
I never had to TELL them to do anything.
I would ask for help, and most of the time the kids were clamoring to be the one to help Momma.
We would go for a walk, not sure what we looked like. lol
I've wondered if we resembled a piped piper at times?
A white man & woman walking out front, and this trail (or train) of kids - all ages and sizes ... and colors.
Ever so often, it was just the 4 of us ... but not as a rule.
All the boys would vie for being "Momma's guardian" on the walk.
I carried a bag because of the treasures that would be found and offered to me.
Mandy, Joshua, and I were talking not long ago about those times.
I asked if I were remembering correctly, were there any fights? Any major arguments? Any hurt feelings?
The answer was "No".
Thru all the years, with all those kids from the varying backgrounds, different races and religions.
The only arguments and fights that we EVER dealt with were the ones between Mandy & Joshua over typical brother / sister stuff!
I asked them how they felt about having shared their home, their stuff, their daddy & momma, with so many.
"Momma, we would not have had it any other way! We are so thankful that you and Daddy raised us like that!"
These memories are treasures to my heart.
They bring smiles to me, and soft tears as well.
But it also explains why I don't understand the divisions of today, the disrespect, the dishonor.
I cannot comprehend when kids raise their voices against adults, in anger, showing total disregard for authority.
I cannot wrap my mind around kids telling adults, "NO! I am not going to do this or that."
I don't understand the kids not being grateful and thankful for all that the adults do for them, having this whole "I want more!" attitude.
My heart cries out for those memories to be more than just memories now.
I sorely miss that life I lived all those years.
I would gladly do them all over again.
No regrets of those years and times.
However - -
I miss being respected.
I miss being honored.
I miss being guarded & protected.
I miss being loved.
Lessons are not always pleasant, nor easy, to learn.
Seems sometimes we have to go thru a lot of heartache and tears before we actually learn anything.
Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.
If something doesn't work, back up, try something else.
Trial & Error.
But learn from what didn't work.
Don't keep doing it over and over again.
Learn and grow.
People come into our lives for lessons, for love, and for laughter.
Some stay ... and some are never meant to stay.
A lesson to be learned is to let them come into your life ... and let them go!
Letting them go is the tough one for most people, including me.
Treasure the moments of laughter and love.
Release the moments that hurt the heart.
One of the lessons I am learning (more slowly than I would like to admit), is to thank those who come into my life and mistreat me in any way.
They have made me change (not sure that is always a good thing, especially at the moment), made me different (again, is this a good thing? I hope so), made me stronger.
Life is uncertain.
If I never understood that, I know that without question now.
Sometimes I still wish for a clarity of my life, a knowing better of what it will be.
It is one of the things I miss the most.
Knowing where I am going to be tomorrow, next week, next month.
Knowing that someone loves me, that I love someone back.
Knowing that I am not alone in making decisions.
Knowing that I had someone to talk out the choices and decisions that I face.
However, I am more at peace than in a long time.
I am content with my life at this point.
No, my life today isn't what I want for the rest of my life.
But I accept that I am here today.
And that tomorrow is not today.
We all need a measure of contentment and peace.
It is the tranquility that carries us on the current thru life.
Like the current of a river.
If you look at a river, sometimes it looks as still as glass -
however, there is a current always moving deep within.
And sometimes that river is a raging torrent.
Still the current is beneath, moving the debris from the torrent along.
Contentment, peace, Joy - that is the current of our heart & life.
Happiness is only what others think they see in us, or hear in our words.
My life (& my heart) is like a river, and it changes with the day and situation.
Some days I have a calmness that makes my life look like glass on the surface.
Some days there is a storm raging within my thoughts & heart, and although no one can see the storm - they can hear the silence. Sadly, they usually assume that I am mad. I wish ... oh it doesn't matter. :(
Some days there is an open storm and I feel swept from side to side, the fear and panic rises within me, and I don't always handle those days in a good way.
Life at best is crazy.
Ups and downs.
Ebbs and flows.
It goes on.
Even when we want it to stop for a while.
I know that if life prevails I will have tomorrows.
If hopes happen then I will know love & joy yet again.
I know that is what Rick wanted for me, but again, he had no idea what he was asking - nor did I know what I was promising. However, I now realize there is a lot of love left within me.
Whether there is a 2nd chapter for me, or not, I will seek out ways to spread the true and pure love of my heart to those in my life.
I also know that if tomorrow never comes, I am a blessed woman today.
If life changes (yet, again) on me, then I know I will survive.
I have been thru the worst - and I am kicking the grief monster's ass every day.
With the Southern grace and dignity I have been raised with, and have tried to live these 57 years with -
I will face each moment as it comes.
I treasure each breath - remembering that the little things mean the most.
These are some of the memes that have meant the most to my heart this week - perhaps they will touch your heart as well.
Warning. Rant ahead. 😡
I understand that we live in a world of technology.
We use our phones, lap tops, computers, tablets, notebooks, for work, for family & friends, for school, for personal use.
I use mine, every day ... all day long (or so it seems some days).
And I get it that games and videos are a big part of "escaping & relaxing" these days. I will admit that I play a game on my phone. Solitaire. Ever so often, for a few minutes at a time - usually when I just cannot go to sleep at night no matter what I do.
HOWEVER, many have gotten addicted (yes, addicted) to the technology and cannot lay them down and walk away from them to do anything else, or to have a CONVERSATION.
How much life & living is being lost to the world of video games, YouTube videos, or Facebook?
How long has it been since you ate a meal at the table, and actually looked at the one(s) sitting there with you? I get it, real people are not as entertaining and engaging as the virtual ones are - but they are REAL.
How long has it been since you ate a meal without picking up your phone during the time of breaking bread? My opinion? That should be a hard & fast rule in any home, or in any restaurant. Leave the phones alone! I watch people that use their phones while they eat ... and we wonder why we have digestive problems, why we don't "connect" with the real world, why we are over weight and out of shape, why the food doesn't taste as good as it used to ... sigh.
How long has it been since you took a long walk, enjoyed nature, exploring a bit, without using your phone for GPS, or listening to music, or even for simply taking pictures? Nothing wrong with using a GPS, but nothing wrong with getting a little lost in nature either. Nothing wrong with listening to music - but have you heard the music of nature? The rustling of leaves in the wind, the singing of the birds, the bubbling of the creeks, and so much more!
Taken from medical reports:
(1)When a person gets addicted to their phone, he/she withdraws from social activities, reduces their food intake, and is unable to think positively. Some people think their cell phone is their friend.
(2) An addiction is when the thing you are addicted to begins to control your life and interferes with your daily activities, work, school, home responsibilities and relationships.
(3) When you are with a real life person sharing a conversation, a meal, or a cup of coffee, do you check your text messages? Facebook? This real person has taken time out of their life to be with you, and share real life time with you. By turning your attention away from them you are saying “You are not as important.” It’s a sickness that we are so addicted to our phones that we ignore the people we are with to hang out with virtual people over Facebook, Twitter, and text messages.
(4) You cannot go for 5 minutes without checking your phone. It’s the first thing you check in the morning and the last at night, and dominates most of your activities in-between.
(5) Cell phone addiction causes headaches, vision problems, a break from reality, digestive issues, increases the pain of arthritis, interrupts the natural sleep patterns. Destroys friendships and family relationships.
Apart from work, I like being in touch with family & friends.
For the most part, I enjoy Facebook. Even tho I have considered many times deleting my account.
Love my website & genealogy. I find myself wishing I could spend more time on both, but I don't.
I use my devices for news & weather.
But to lay it all down, spend time with someone, have real conversation, go for a long walk or drive in country, or any other REAL LIFE interaction?
In a New York minute & not take my Texas time to do it!
Are you a smartphone junkie?
This is a scientific test, developed & used by the medical community to help treat those who are addicted to their cell phones.
Rate each item on a scale of 1 (“completely disagree”) to 7 (“strongly agree”)
and tally up your total score to find out.
1. I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
2. I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.
3. Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
4. I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so.
5. Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
6. If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
7. If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.
8. If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
9. If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it.
If I did not have my smartphone with me ...
10. I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
11. I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.
12. I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.
13. I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends.
14. I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me.
15. I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken.
16. I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
17. I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks.
18. I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks.
19. I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages.
20. I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.
The lower the score, the less you are addicted. Anything over 100 is time for an intervention!
I scored 32 on the test - being as honest as I could be.
Which shows me a few areas that I need to work on and improve my score to a lower number.
What is your score?
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here